Minister of Health Jappie Mhango has said government will Friday announce far-reaching measures to cushion the the citizens from the massive blow that the coronavirus three-weeks lockdown will have on them.
Mhango told a news conference on Thursday – with members of the Special Cabinet committe that he heads – that as the spread of the coronavirus accelerates, government is working to ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable are reflected in its response to the emergency.
Women, children, people with disabilities, the marginalized, unemployed, informal sector and the displaced, all most at risk of suffering devastating losses from Covid-19 lockdown .
“Government is aware of the hardship and inconvenience that the lockdown will inflict on the population during the 21-days and afterwards,” said Mhango.
He said on March 20, 2020 when President Peter Mutharika declared a state of disaster over the Covid-19 pandemic and consequent to this declaration, the mitigation and relief measures provided for under the Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act (Cap. 33:05) have been invoked in order to avert the consequent suffering of Malawians.
The minister said mitigations are in form of social safety nets to the vulnerable groups who live a hand-to-mouth type of subsistence.
Mhango said government will this Friday ” announce the specific measures” that it shall implement.
In a move to stave off a likely depression, President Mutharika directed that a special fund be created for Admarc to buy agricultural produce at competitive prices.
The President also instructed Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) to open up a voluntary tax compliance window for six months to allow taxpayers with arrears to settle their tax obligations in installments without penalty.
Mutharika also directing Reserve Bank to implement a win-win arrangement with commercial banks and micro-finance institutions to observe a three-month moratorium on interest and principal repayments for all loans contracted by micro, small and medium enterprises.
The FDH Bank has since announced compliance with such arrangement.
Mutharika also ordered an increase to Merdef loans from K13 billion to K15 billion to help micro, small and medium scale businesses that have been seriously affected by the pandemic.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :